NHL Canadian Corner – Sunday, April 21, 2013.

Game recaps involving Canadian NHL teams, plus the latest on the Oilers and Flames.

Phil Kessel & James van Riemsdyk celebrates the latter's goal over Ottawa.

Phil Kessel & James van Riemsdyk celebrates the latter’s goal over Ottawa.

TORONTO SUN/OTTAWA CITIZEN: The Toronto Maple Leafs clinched their first playoff berth in nine years by downing the Ottawa Senators 4-1.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Leafs fans can finally breathe easy. It doesn’t matter now where they ultimately finish in the standings (though obviously the higher the better), they’re going to be in the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The win puts the Leafs two points behind the fourth overall Boston Bruins, two points up on the NY Islanders, three up on the Senators, and five up on the eighth overall NY Rangers.

VANCOUVER SUN: The Canucks clinched a playoff berth with a 2-1 shootout win over the Detroit Red Wings.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks can thank goaltender Cory Schneider, as they were outplayed by the Wings in third period.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The floundering Canadiens suffered their fourth loss in their last five games, falling 5-1 to the Washington Capitals.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s not that the Canadiens are losing, it’s how they’re losing. Since clinching a playoff berth over a week ago, it’s like they’ve mentally checked out , especially when it comes to their defensive play. Until this past week, the Habs were being mentioned as a serious Cup contender and Carey Price a nominee for the Vezina Trophy. Not any more. Price has been inconsistent, scrambling madly in his crease, while his defense has been porous.

WINNIPEG SUN: John Tavares shootout goal lifted the NY Islanders to a 5-4 win over the Jets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The loss puts the Jets one point behind the eighth overall NY Rangers, who have a game in hand, and three back of the division-leading Capitals. Basically, the Jets cannot afford another loss in their remaining three games.

CALGARY SUN/CALGARY HERALD: Flames winger Curtis Glencross will miss the remainder of this season to a knee injury, while the club announced the re-signing of goaltender Joey MacDonald to a one-year, one-way, $925K contract.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers face a tough finish to this season.

3 Comments

  1. “Until this past week, the Habs were being mentioned as a serious Cup contender and Carey Price a nominee for the Vezina Trophy. Not any more”
    Silly who ever thought that, seriously. Not a gab at you spec but really, serious cup contender from a team that finished so far the bottom of the standings last year. A reality check is needed to those that thought that. This made my day.

    • I hear ya, Ron. Seriously, in recent weeks there were actually a few pundits suggesting it was time for the Habs to be taken seriously as a Cup contender, and a few other suggesting Price should get a Vezina nod. I declined to comment on them at the time because I felt it was premature for such statements. Yes, the Habs up until a week ago were having a terrific bounce-back season from last year’s debacle, but Cup contenders? Price for the Vezina? That’s over the top.

  2. As a Leafs fan, I’ve got MANY friends who are Hab fans and hear their chirping ALL THE TIME. Leaf Nation is huge, spans all across the country, but our nearly decade drought hasn’t made it easy to voice our passion for a while. Habs fans are crazy for their team; pride, tradition, history of Cup Championships have all created a surreal sense of “We’re gonna win the Cup this year” every season. When they’re winning, this belief becomes strong. Even when they’re losing, the belief is still there. So when I hear “Cup contenders” from pundits I just brush it aside for it’s what their true fans ALWAYS say – super passionate bunch. The reality is what it is. Maybe they’re too small, their goalie isn’t the best, need better leadership… who knows? Just really sucks to hear these same passionate fans throw the same guys they praised under the bus so easily. As a Leaf fan I’d be honoured to have Price or PK on our team (hot or not, they’re greatly talented), but don’t tromp on the team so close to season’s end.
    Hopefully a slew of fans will converge on their practice at the rink and cheer them on as they did when the lockout was ended and they had their first practice. These guys are VERY down on themselves, and I think that a show of support from their fans could do wonders to help set them back on course.
    I’ve been hoping to be seeded with them in the Playoffs for these last few weeks, but that’s because I saw the matchup as exciting! Don’t get me wrong, I want my Leafs to beat them, just prefer it to go to 7 games.
    I’m practical in that I never saw us as a Cup Contender all season. Want my boys to gain some Playoff experience so that they can draw on it and become one soon, though. Hopefully Sens and Jets can secure something too.